The present experiments examined the dissociation between the strength of a shuttlebox avoidance response (AR) and one index of fear of the avoidance CS. Avoidance response strength was indexed by resistance to extinction of the AR and by changes in response latency, and fear of the CS was indexed by the conditioned emotional response (CER) technique. Experiments 1, 2A, and 3A all found that rats trained to a criterion of 27 consecutive avoidance responses (CARs) showed response strength comparable or superior to rats trained to a criterion of 9 CARs. Experiments 2B and 3A demonstrated that rats trained to 27 CARs showed less suppression of bar pressing during the avoidance CS (less CER) than rats trained to 9 CARs. Experiment 3A also found that, when extinguished in the shuttlebox to a moderate criterion (5 consecutive trials without a response) before CER testing, rats trained to 9 CARs showed some, although not complete, loss of CER, whereas rats trained to 27 CARs showed no loss of CER. In Experiment 3B rats that took 1 vs 2 days to reach a criterion of 27 CARs were compared for their AR strength and for their CER. Although rats taking 2 days to reach criterion showed somewhat greater resistance to extinction of the AR than rats reaching criterion in 1 day, this variable had no apparent effect on the CER. Implications of the present results for current theories of avoidance learning are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology